Juneau-Douglas High School senior Gary Speck picked up the Crimson Bears on his broad shoulders and carried them to a 65-64 victory over West Valley in Friday’s nightcap game of the Capital City Classic.
Speck picked up Southeast, Speck picked up the town, and Speck picked up just about every loose ball and rebound, as he turned the fourth quarter into his personal highlight reel en route to scoring a game high 19 points stealing the wind out of the Wolfpack and leaving fans breathless as well.
The biggest of those came with 9.5 seconds remaining in the game and the Crimson Bears trailing 64-63.
Fouled inside after rebounding a missed Crimson Bears shot, Speck hit two free throws to seal the win.
“I was pretty nervous,” Speck said. “I was shaking.”
The Crimson Bears went into the fourth quarter trailing 52-51. A 7-2 run by the Wolfpack, including a three-pointer by Jason Gordon (who fouled out 10 seconds later, pushed the lead to 59-53. West Valley’s Charles Sudduth fouled out at the 4:19 mark and put Speck on the line.
Speck hit his first pair of free throws to edge closer, then rebounded a missed Wolfpack shot and hustled down court to receive a pretty pass from Keith Ainsworth for a baby hook.
Twenty seconds later he rebounded a West Valley free throw, hustled down court, and received a nice pass from Adam Empson for another inside score to tie the game at 59.
Daniel Hornbuckle hit a deep three at the 2:15 mark for a 62-59 Wolfpack advantage. A trio of free throws by Empson, Aquino Brinson and Ainsworth countered a Hornbuckle basket and stay within two at 64-62 with 55 seconds remaining.
Brinson stole a pass and fouled out West Valley’s Danny Egan.
Brinson hit one of two and the Crimson Bears put West Valley’s Forrest Clark at the line. Clark missed both and Speck had a rebound. Both teams committed turnovers and with less than 10 seconds remaining Speck sank the winners.
“I don’t remember what I was thinking,” Speck said. “I am pretty happy right now.”
The Crimson Bears put on a full court press that made possible only a half court fling by West Valley as the buzzer sounded.
The Wolfpack were hit with eight fouls in the final period and 42 for the game, of which the Crimson Bears connected on 31. West Valley hit 17-27 from the charity stripe.
Speck was human, missing two free throws in his nine-point second period. Brinson and Ainsworth picked up that slack, each scoring a deep triple and tallying seven and six points, respectively.
Scoring for JDHS were Speck with 19, Brinson and Ainsworth 11 apiece, Dar Hodge-Campos, Jeff Pusich and Empson six each, Kevin Guimmayen four and Ben Williams two.
Hornbuckle led West Valley with 14 points, Daniel Remington 13, J. Gordon 12, Sudduth and Clark eight, Egan seven and Damon Gordon two.
The Wolfpack led 18-12 starting the second quarter and trailed 38-35 starting the third.
The win gave the Crimson Bears a chance to derail East on Saturday and muddle up the tournament championship. The loss put the Wolfpack at 0-2 heading into their final game against Sitka.
• Contact Sports Editor Klas Stolpe at 523-2228 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.